Feng wins LPGA Championship, first major for China

Feng Shanshan became the first Chinese golfer to win a major title by firing a bogey-free five-under par 67 on Sunday to capture the LPGA Championship by two strokes.

The 22-year-old from Beijing, who began golfing at age 10 and came to America as a teen before joining the LPGA in 2008, took her first career LPGA triumph by finishing 72 holes at Locust Hill Country Club on six-under 282.

"I still can't believe that I won a major. It just feels so good," Feng said. "I'm just so excited right now. I did it."

Japan's Mika Miyazato, Norway's Suzann Pettersen, American Stacy Lewis and South Korean Eun-Hee Ji shared second on 284.

Feng, whose victory was worth $375,000, will rise from 10th to fourth in the world ranking on Monday. She fired the week's low round on the final day.

"My goal for the year was to win on the LPGA Tour and a top 10 in a major. I did them at one time," Feng said.

But as meaningful as the shock victory was for Feng, it could resonate far more in China, which opened its first golf course in 1984, only five years before Feng was born.

"Golf wasn't that popular in China," Feng said. "I was lucky to have a chance to start."

Feng, who asked television commentators to call her "Jenny", said she had planned to play upcoming LPGA events, but will instead celebrate her victory with a trip home to China. She plans to play July 5-8 in the US Women's Open.

A startled Feng exclaimed, "Oh my God," when she saw the winner's trophy and where her name would be engraved beside that of World No. 1 Yani Tseng of Taiwan, the five-time major winner who owns three victories this season.

Despite lingering political tensions between their homelands, Feng said she and Tseng get along well and Feng one day hopes to match Tseng's success by reaching the top of the rankings.

"I'm still chasing her," Feng said. "But maybe I got a little closer."

In a strong amateur career in China, Feng won nine titles, including the China Women's Amateur title from 2004 through 2006.

Feng shared the runner-up spot in February's HSBC Women's Champions event in Singapore to match her best LPGA result to that point, runner-up efforts in last year's Mizuno Classic and the 2008 Bell Micro LPGA Classic.

"This means a lot for me," Feng said. "This is my fifth year on the tour. I had no winning. I was down. I was thinking, 'Could I win again?' Now I know I can win again."

Feng, who began the day three strokes off the pace, birdied the par-4 second and sixth holes and added another at the par-5 eighth. As her rivals stumbled, Feng birdied the par-14 12th and reached the 16th tee with a two-stroke lead.

Miyazato sank a 10-foot birdie putt at the 17th hole to pull within one stroke of Feng and sank a six-foot par putt at 18, but needed a stumble from Feng that never came.

Feng parred the 16th and sank an eight-footer birdie putt at the par-5 17th, stretching her advantage to two strokes at the 18th tee.

Feng sank a tricky, breaking four-foot downhill putt for par at the 18th to claim the clubhouse lead, and then watched as a handful of rivals needing eagles and birdies to force a playoff failed to match her.

Pettersen, who had shared the lead with Feng on the back nine, took bogeys at the par-4 13th and 14th holes to stumble off the pace and not even a birdie at the 17th could put her back in the hunt.


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